The Why of Guy

Once I was 18 years old.  I thought I was pretty smart and tough.  Right then, God brought this person named Guy into my life who blew my mind.  It’s complicated to explain, but suffice it to say that just by being himself, he made me realize some ways in which I was being…well, a phony.  I wasn’t out to impress people, but I did have so many walls up!  Guy inspired me to be a more sincere person, no matter what that looked like.

He had experienced some terrible pain in his short life–losing his own father–and he was pretty honest about his feelings in his poems. This inspired me to write, as well, and to talk to God about things I had never faced before.

For one great summer we shared our hearts and our faith. We hung out a lot (NO makeout sessions whatsoever!) trying to figure out how to be deep with one another and wanting to be close, without being sappy. At the end of that summer, we each had to go away to college hundreds of miles apart, so we wrote a lot of  letters.  (We didn’t have easy access to email in the mid-90’s , and phone calls cost 10 cents a minute!)  We got to see each other only briefly on the summer break, and went back to our separate colleges.  Our closeness remained, though, as we kept sharing with one another any and all spiritual lessons, hopes for the future, etc.

And then, in January of our sophomore year, he died.  

Just like that.  No warnings, no goodbyes.  God just took him. His heart stopped while he was alone in his bed.  No one had known he was at risk.

By God’s grace I handled it pretty well, with a great support system and some closure after the fact.  How would I have handled it with all those walls up, the ones he had broken down? Even decades later, I can say that the loss definitely changed my life.  I remember thinking, God must have a reason for me to be here.  If He didn’t, I guess I’d be gone, too.

Now, a person might say, “God, that relationship was sooo good! Why did You have to take it away?”

Asking that question is not bad, for God can handle our questions.  Because of this blog, however, something profound occurred to me:  what does this particular situation look like from the other side?

God only knows. Perhaps, though, we could see it this way:

God knew the exact moment that He was going to take Guy home to Himself.

Knowing, this, He chose to use Guy do something powerful in my life, first.  

So instead of saying “why did you give your child Laurel such a  great friend and then take him away?” we could be saying “what a wise and powerful way to use one child of God to bless another child of God!” Even though things didn’t progress the way I thought they would, I can say that God gave me a very, very good gift.  

Of course, God did more than just “use” Guy. He blessed him with comfort, too.  And,  I realize that mine was not the only life that was touched by him.  At the funeral in his college state, I met some of his peers. All of us are who we are, in part, because of how God used Guy in our lives.

Glory be to the One who knows all things. In him we live, and move, and have our being.  I will never know all the things He knows, but using my sanctified imagination in this way frees me up to trust Him.

What can you try to see from the other side today?

 

…But when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

2 Corinthians 13:10-12

guypic-3Hi-quality snapshot of Guy, my high school best friend Jessica, and me.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

So many people seem to be making a living on NOT having any sympathy or understanding for the other side. This is leading to increased division, a loss of civility, the thriving of internet trolls, and the epidemic of cyber-bullying.  It’s time for us to stretch our minds, use our creativity, and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. I’ll admit, sometimes that is hard. Pretend you are looking through a paper towel tube, and all you can see is the thing that is annoying you. You have to turn into an ant, crawl to the other end, turn around and look back.

Or, if you just said “HUH??” to that idea, do whatever you have to do to SEE THE OTHER SIDE.  

Today’s topic:

Not using your turn signal!  

I have silently heaped scorn upon perfect strangers for this act of negligence since the day I earned my driver’s license.  

One day, a few years ago, the strangest thing happened.  A fuse or something went out in our Volkswagen, and the turn signals stopped working.  Nothing else stopped working; just the turn signals.  Horror!  After all that judging of others, suddenly I was the person not using the turn signal!  

Before we managed to get the problem fixed, I found myself at a green light in a very busy town, needing to turn left, just after dusk so no one could see my hand signals. (The left turn signal, I mean! Not that other hand signal that drivers sometimes use.)  There I was, sitting in the middle of the intersection, NOT at a protected left, NOT in a dedicated left-turn lane, NOT seeing a break in the oncoming traffic, and NOT indicating that I wanted to turn left.  The person behind me honked long and loud. I simultaneously wanted to (a) apologize, (b) crawl under a rock, or (c) walk back there and give that honker a piece of my mind. (Yes, I can be a bit of a spitfire.)

Anyhow, there is just ONE instance for you of why a person may not be using her turn signal.  Let’s consider some others:

  • The driver is sad. She just had a tragedy in her family and she is on auto-pilot, which unfortunately does not include operating that lever on the left.  When your mind is on a life-altering event, such things seem irrelevant.
  • The driver is distracted. Granted, we should all avoid bringing distractions to our driving, but sometimes distractions show up uninvited. Perhaps her left hand is busy swatting at a spider, or scratching an urgent itch between her shoulder blades.
  • It’s possible that the driver doesn’t think a turn signal is necessary in the particular occasion, such as changing lanes.  Maybe her driver’s ed instructor sat and read magazines at the back of the class and let the students all chit-chat after their parents paid through the nose. (True story – from a friend.)
  • Maybe she is on her way to the store to buy more blinker fluid??

For all you know, that driver may use her turn signal 99% of the time, and you may have witnessed an anomaly.

If any of these thoughts help you to take a breath and find some chill, and keep you from judging too harshly a person you have never met, then I am happy to have posted this little thought bubble.

And, if you meet anyone who literally does not know how to use a turn signal, please use these helpful resources! 🙂

http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Your-Turn-Signal

Instruction by helpful police officer

 

 

Merge Time!

Merging

This topic is from my friend Laurie: merging in this high-traffic area. How do YOU handle it?

Let’s start with the Demure Driver who sees the “merge left” sign and immediately moves to the left lane. Meanwhile, about 49 cars proceed to zip past her on the right, and she finds herself feeling a bit resentful.  No wonder traffic is backed up during rush hour! All these cars are cutting in at the front of the line!  She feels it would be fair to allow one or two cars in front of her, but not ten or twenty!  She starts to wish she had a much wider vehicle, so she could just block both lanes and keep any more people from getting in front of her. She inches closer to the car in front of her, hoping to prevent these rude drivers from butting in, but they simply squeeze in further up the line.

Now, pan over to Efficient Operator, who sees the same “merge left” sign and takes that as a warning that eventually the road will narrow.  He sees that there are two lanes of traffic, and he understands that, like water, the high volume of traffic should take up those two lanes until it is forced into a smaller pipeline. At that point, they would ideally do an “alternate merge,” but seeing that there are a lot more cars in the left lane than the right, he chooses the right lane and flows on up to the ultimate merge point.  Some days, he has some trouble squeezing in; it seems that the people on the left don’t seem to want to merge. He finds that inefficient and, frankly, annoying.

Do you identify with one of these?  Do you feel frustration with the other?  Do you see both sides?  Comment below!  But remember the rule: BE NICE OR LEAVE.

And send me your pet peeves for future posts.